On the plus side, President Biden promised Americans that their health insurers would pay for home coronavirus tests, per a new directive from the Department of Health & Human Services. Of course, as most Americans also know, it is impossible to find these tests anywhere, in fact, harder to find home tests than it was to find a cabbage patch kid in 1982 (yes, cabbage patch kids were 1983 but you see the point). It is probably something the Biden Administration should have been focused on months ago.
Back in New York State…
The Legislature voted down both sets of maps from the Independent Redistricting Commission. The Commission will have another opportunity to present maps, which they have promised to provide the Legislature within fifteen days (but technically they have until the 28th of February per the State Constitution). These, too, will be voted down and then the Legislature will draw their own maps (see the analysis on what this means for primaries and legislative session in our 2022 Preview here).
Even before these maps, John Katko, a Member of Congress for four terms from Central New York announced his retirement last week. A moderate Republican, Katko had broad bi-partisan support and a couple of impressive wins behind him. That said, his support for an investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and his vote to impeach President Donald Trump had earned him the disfavor of local Conservatives as well as a potential Republican primary. His retirement could impact what New York’s Congressional map looks like, one expert queried: “Dems now face a big choice in the wake of Rep. John Katko (R) retirement: split the Syracuse region into two Biden +10 districts (23D-3R overall), draw one Biden +20 Syracuse/Utica/Ithaca ultra-safe seat (22D-4R overall) or something in between.”
Greenlight Networks Bringing New High-Speed Fiber Broadband Network to Cheektowaga
Churchill: Hochul Knows Something About Population Decline
It would be impossible to be from Buffalo and not understand something about the consequences of population loss — the eerie quiet of decaying neighborhoods, the pain of grandparents divided from grandchildren by distance, the sadness of seeing friends and neighbors move away. Any politician from the city would know that population drops are a sign something is wrong. [Read more.]